The following letter is my contribution to Jane in June, hosted on Bookrat Misty's blog. Enjoy. :)
To: My dearest Miss Austen,
Oh my, I recall the first occasion of my having read one of your novels. I must admit to feeling quite overcome by the volume of immediate introductions imposed upon this most humble reader’s acquaintance regarding the inhabitants of “Mansfield Park”, and I nearly, quite nearly in fact, found myself disinclined to carry forward in the endeavor of reading this novel. Persevere I did, however, and to my delight, I found myself enamored with the strength of character and morality of the lovely Miss Fanny Price. What a sweet and humble young lady Miss Price is, to have had the entire Bertram family- save one-peer down upon her as if she were no better than a servant, withstand the immense pressures of her peers so as to avoid straying down the path of the wicked flirt or carouser, and yet continue to hold her head high with pride when all but the very greatest of burdens were upon her shoulders.
I daresay I hardly need tell you, but this reader found Miss Fanny Price to be an inspiration, despite my modern feminist sensibilities, and quite refreshing, too! I was so pleased that Miss Price found her way to happiness, and the joy of this experience left me quite enchanted, so I made up my mind right at that exact moment to read all of your gracious gifts to the world of literature, and leave no page unturned in this quest.
To this end I have read your “Pride and Prejudice” and have fallen in love with the prideful Miss Lizzie Bennet and the prejudiced Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and the beautiful estate at Pemberley! Oh how I pitied poor, poor Miss Bennet trials with her flighty and nervous (and, to be honest, nerve-wracking!) family. I simply adored Miss Bennet for the patience and strength that her pride afforded her when it comes to that silly group!
My further ventures into your world, into that of “Sense and Sensibility,” allowed for the acquaintance of another sweet and humble young lady in Miss Elinor Dashwood. Miss Dashwood simply epitomizes the completely unselfish actt of putting all others before oneself, and she is to be commended for this rare and admirable trait. I also found myself completely in awe and drawn to Miss Dashwood’s impetuous and immensely passionate sister, Miss Marianne Dashwood. She both inspires a desire to live life to the utmost and breaks one’s heart at the same time. I do love her!
Following these exceptional works, I had the pleasure of reading “Persuasion”, which, in feel and style is more mature and solemn than any of the previous stories mentioned. This story is intimate and wistful and communicates to the reader a sense of longing and regret. Yet, the letter –oh that letter!- from Captain Wentworth! “Be still my heart!” as the great poet once said, though with different meaning! That letter, notwithstanding the lovely and heartfelt story that preceded it, is enough to stay in this reader’s memory for a very, very long time to come.
After this brush with love and longing, I perused the epistolary novella “Lady Susan”, and must express, my dear Miss Austen, that Lady Susan is no Lady with regards to her bearing and behavior! Quite deplorable and shameless manipulation and narcissism! I found the writing to be admirable, as per the usual grace and skill of your own dear self, but the subject matter was altogether a departure from your normal standards!
Finally, I had the opportunity to meet a lovely, albeit naïve, young Miss Emma Woodhouse. My, my, she did have some growing up to do! I can proudly say that I did see that maturity develop in her, but only after many attempts at playing Cupid with locution as her arrow!
This reader still has some few stories and novellas to read, some of which are sadly left unfinished, but I’m writing now to communicate my excitement over an opportunity which has arisen to read the last heretofore unread novel which comprises your body of work, by which I mean “Northanger Abbey”. This occasion, known as “Jane in June”, is a veritable celebration of your legacy to literature! And, I must admit, as an admirer of the gothic style, I simply cannot wait to experience this story. I am waiting with bated breath! Look for my next letter to let you know just precisely how much I enjoyed it—as I am fully certain I will!
Yours in literature appreciation,
Miss Becky R---